25 YEARS AGO
A gang of nervy thieves “peeled” the safe and escaped with nearly $136 cash early Saturday morning at the Delmarva Power and Light Company’s new, brilliantly lighted showroom and office at Grasonville.
The building that sits directly on Route 301 and is well-lighted both from the outside and inside throughout the night, was entered by breaking the glass on a rear door.
State police said Robert Ramsburg, of Chester, the line foreman, told them he came to the office about 8:45 a.m. Saturday for some tools. Ordinarily the building is not open on Saturday. He ween into the garage portion and found the safe on its back with the door ripped off.
Troopers First Class R.E. Williams and Wallace Mowbray “dusted” the safe and the firm’s large line truck for fingerprints.
The thieves apparently rolled the 30x48inch safe on its wheels from a front filing closet into the garage part of the building and then obtained tools from the firm’s own truck to smashed the safe door off.
*** The Kent Island Shopping Center and adjoining 50-room motel on Route 301 and 50, just east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, has been purchased by a Baltimore realty company this week for a price reported “in excess” of $300,000.
At the same time it was announced that two other very large land transactions are in the process of being finalized on Kent Island. The Kentmorr marina and subdivision is being sold and some 150 acres of Tower Gardens on the Bay, another subdivision, has been sold.
The Lephil Realty Company, the Baltimore firm that has purchased the shopping center, also reported that they are, in turn, selling the motel to Douglas Pindell, a motel owner near Laurel, Md.
The motel, which includes two restaurants in the office building portion, has been vacant since January 1962.
The late David M. Nichols built the million-dollar shopping center complex following the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1952.
* * * John Bernard Keiler Jr., 22, a construction equipment oiler from Baltimore, received a 10-year sentence in the Maryland Penitentiar y from Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Keating Jr. for hiring a man to assault a union leader in August 1965.
Keiler was found guilty on Sept. 21 on a charge of soliciting an assault on Car vel Kenneth Hatfield, a bricklayers union official who was found shot to death in the doorway of his apartment building in Baltimore on Aug. 26, 1965. The man who police believe committed the murder was later found dead in a wooded section of Baltimore County.
Eight Mexican women have filed a federal suit against a Chester seafood company, charging that they worked in conditions resembling indentured ser vitude.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore Wednesday, charges that David W. Wehrs Seafood Inc. paid them less than minimum wage, misrepresented working and living conditions, paid them less than minimum wage, misrepresented working and living conditions, placed them in substandard housing and isolated them from American workers. Also named as defendants are the North Carolina company and the people who recruited the workers in Mexico.
The plaintiffs in the latest suit were among 20 women recruited by Wehrs from their homes in Sinaloa, Mexico, to pick crabmeat at its plant in Chester, said their attorney M. Christina Gutierrez. Instead of being paid by the hour, they were paid by the pound, making between $1.53 and $2.46 an hour … and did not receive overtime, even though they worked 50 to 60 hours a week, the suit said.
The women were forced to sign their paychecks and return them to the company, which deducted rent and the cost of transporting them by bus from Mexico, the suit said.
* * * More than a year after litigation to remove the substandard designation off 31 homes in Centreville, plaintiffs and defendants have settled the case, but seem to be right back where they started.
In the lawsuit filed against the town in August 1990, the plaintiffs, some of the owners of the Liberty Street houses, claimed the town violated the federal civil rights laws which prohibit race-based discrimination in property relations. Most of the homes on the list were owned or leased by blacks.
The suit, settled two weeks ago, states that the town will remove the substandard housing designation from the houses and delete all the statements in the Comprehensive Plan that the plaintiffs’ properties are “no longer suitable for residential use.”
* * * Police are making more drugs arrests than ever before in Queen Anne’s County, but fewer cases are resulting in convictions.
According to a survey of court documents, the conviction rate on drug cases fell from 74 percent last year to 42 percent this year in both district and circuit court.
In addition, 41 percent of the cases were dropped this year compared to only 17 percent last year. The number of drug cases did increase though, from 95 last year to 112 so far this year.
No one can point to a specific reason why the conviction rate has dropped off recently, but everyone seems to agree that it will improve as the relationship between prosecutors and police improves.
* * * Cats may have nine lives, but two dogs got new leases on life because of the Queenstown Fire Department.
Animal technician Cathy Jenkins and Dr. Steve Harris were helping a Brittany spaniel, Robin, deliver puppies at the Queenstown Veterinary Hospital when they smelled smoke last Wednesday evening. A clothes dryer had overheated and after Dr. Harris called the fire company, they just started “grabbing animals.”
“I’m positively impressed with the Queenstown Fire Department,” Jenkins said. “They were here within two minutes and did a wonderful job,” she said. They even saved a dog’s life. Assistant Chief Frank Russum and volunteer firefighter Geoff Willis were searching the area when they discovered Lark, a fox hound.
“There was so much smoke we could barely see him, I think we just saw his paws,” said Russum. “But when we opened that door, he was ready to come out,” he said.
Russum said the dog was in one of the bottom kennels.
“I don’t mind saving a dog’s life, but if it had been a snake, it might have had to fend for himself,” Russum said with a laugh.